Let us first know about, what is the definition of Herd Immunity and what’s its significance?
What is HERD Immunity?
Herd Immunity or communal immunity prevents the people from an infectious irresistible illness & occurs only when the mass population becomes resistant either through inoculation or invulnerability developed through past diseases & infections. This Herd Immunity acts as a barrier by preventing the disease from further spreading.
For certain maladies, HERD immunity works only when 40 per cent of the individuals in the population becomes immune to any particular disease through inoculation/vaccination. However, for most of the cases, it is important for 80-90% of the population to be immune to the diseases to stop its further spread.
For instance, out of 20 individuals, at least 19 individuals must be vaccinated against measles/chickenpox/ etc. for HERD immunity to come into existence & preventing the disease.
Does Herd Immunity Work?
For a few diseases, Herd Immunity proves worthy very well. In fact, some Individuals in Norway have effectively managed to develop partial Herd Immunity against the virus H1N1 or Swine Flu) through immunizations and natural immunity. Likewise, flu was anticipated to cause fewer deaths in 2010 and 2011 on the grounds that a majority of the populace was insusceptible/immune to it.
Herd immunity can help to stop the spread of sickness, for example, swine flu, and many different types of pandemics inside a whole nation. Likewise, it doesn’t generally ensure assurance against any infection/disease. For most healthy and fit individuals, Herd immunity is not a good option instead of getting immunized/vaccinated.
Herd Immunity in Coronavirus
With the advent of the deadly disease, COVID-19 led Corona Virus has vanished away from the entire existence of our business organizations, ruined the job sector, people’s way of living, social culture, the economic condition of the whole world, life savings, daily bread of the poor and continuously chasing over our life for breathlessness.
However, a large no. of doctors, scientists, including virologists, and a special team of epidemiologists are putting their day & night to make the best use of their mind and come up with the permanent and everlasting solution to this problem.
Thousands of the teams consisting of expert professionals are deployed in several parts of the country working towards the direction of immunizations, techniques, financial and monetary measures to deal with the impact of the virus and to fuel down the menace caused due to the massive growing spread of this virus. The topic of Vaccination for this virus is quite intense and we should leave that for our next upcoming blog.
One of the theories that came into light as of present is “HERD IMMUNITY”. The hypothesis has been advanced by the specialists at Princeton University and CDDEP – Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy (situated in New Delhi and Washington).
The theory explains that a group of individuals who have been contaminated by the Coronavirus once, their body develops the antibodies/cells to fight against it, and fights against the virus easily in the future if the virus attacks again. So this community of individuals would get resistant to getting infected with Coronavirus again. Furthermore, consequently, such individuals would act as an obstacle and shield against the older and vulnerable population/ those with low immunity and stop the infection from getting spread further in the community.
Following conditions must be fulfilled to bring this hypothetical insusceptibility/immunity shield into effect:
- 50-85% of the nation needs to get contaminated with the Coronavirus, and at least 60-80% of those infected, need to recuperate and develop antibodies against the infection naturally.
- According to the researchers at Princeton University & CDDEP, individuals under 5 years of age can resort back to their normal lifestyle by simply following the safety guidelines and procedures issued by WHO i.e; using the facial masks, avoiding social gathering (at public & private places both) and by keeping the social distancing in mind always.
- However, all the serious cases of COVID-19 would be under the strict observance of the government, particularly those who are old, facing any chronic diseases already, those with low immunity and individuals with comorbidities, and hospitalize those who need immediate help.
- Researchers feel that due to the large size of the population of India, it is very difficult for them to cope with this problem because being a developing nation it lacks the financial and adequate health care system to treat a huge no. of over-flooded populous country.
- They accept the fact that India needs more COVID-19 testing kits to trace the coronavirus suspects and isolate them from further spreading in the entire community. Social Distancing might not be the only solution for the unprivileged and backward areas of the Indian Society which are already dealing with the problem of overpopulation, malnutrition, and financial resources from which the migrant laborers and other financially unstable communities are suffering.
Therefore, they recommend, an alternate way might be required other than Lockdown that would be an ideal remedy over the long haul.
At present around the web, this hypothesis has numerous statements & opinions coming up both “For the Movement and Against the Movement”. However, as an unbiased blogger, I will make my attempt to put forward both the statements in front of you all.
FOR THE MOTION
- If the individuals are permitted to restore their lives with work and consumption, (assuming the fact that Herd Immunity hypothesis is in existence) it would return back the economy from the current recession, saving a huge number of lives from poverty and hunger, bringing back the employment and work opportunities.
- According to the researchers at Princeton University & CDDEP, by letting the coronavirus spread among the age group of 18-55 years or below 0 years of age in a controlled way for the upcoming 7 months would make 60% of the nation immune to this disease by the starting of November. They accept and acknowledge the fact that there will be fewer deaths, yet it will be a more modest number along these lines, and the entire country will be one again operational for running a smooth business by November.
- Not only this it would also ease off the burden from the government’s shoulders to distribute free ration, food, grains, flour, water, and money to the unprivileged sections of the society resulting in greater no. of responsibilities which could be then easily taken by the private sector for transporting the public to their native towns and villages who are stuck due to restricted mobility and also ensuring the supply of medical articles.
- Once the country gets back operational in all aspects then it would put our state and central governments both in a better condition to pay their import dues and other monetary expenses easily and in fact, this would allow them to infuse more money into the health sector of the country due to the collections for excise duty, state taxes, goods and services taxes, and other financial instruments.
This all, in turn, would drastically improve the psychological state of mind of the whole nation, who is currently under stress and anxiety about their monetary issues, obligations, debt, and credit conditions.
AGAINST THE MOTION
- This methodology has just been disposed of by the United Kingdom government after conducting trial & testings, which resulted in overburdening the existing medical infrastructure, and distract them away from treating, bringing an end to this Pandemic, apart from monetary losses incurred to take into account the extra coronavirus patients because of abrupt burst in numbers.
- China & South Korea have announced a shocking imminent revelation during these present days that patients who have completely recovered from Coronavirus earlier are now testing positive once again.
- In South Korea, 163 individuals are such re-infected cases. In spite of the fact that the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) Director expressed that there’s no sign that such patients are infectious. He advised that researchers despite everything don’t have the foggiest idea about the in-depth knowledge of COVID-19, its antibodies and in-fact they told that even patients become immune to it only once they recover fully and successfully. With this statement of the scientists, it puts the bases of HERD Immunity technique under inquiry until the doctors and researchers assemble enough information about this infection.
- There would be an immense spike in numbers when the individuals will return back to their ordinary lives since a huge no. of this population probably would find it difficult to stick to social distancing measures and wear a facial mask. This would, thus, make the hospital inefficient due to overcrowding of the patients at the same time, making many of them reach serious conditions. A large number of isolation beds would also be required as a back-up by the hospitals and other clinical centres before arriving at Herd Immunity, which would be next to impossible tasks for the government to do financially. Such a trial hypothesis could downturn the whole endeavours made by the administration and individuals of the nation if things turn out badly.
- One of the dangers includes the seriously high contamination levels of the nation, particularly when vehicles get back on the street, with big business ventures smoking overwhelming contamination. Such a situation can additionally heighten the sustainability of the Coronavirus, increasing its survival rate in the atmosphere for a more extended timeframe.
- With this, the pre-existing diseases like- high rate of diabetes, despondency/depression, hypertension, and other cardiovascular problems among the young & elder people of our nation, would fill in as comorbidities with coronavirus and can worsen the circumstance when young population travels freely without any lockdown.
There are hypotheses by certain specialists at Stanford University that youngsters of the nation would feel they are insusceptible to the coronavirus and that is the reason the government is letting them contract the infection and develop antibodies. They accept youth would disregard the way that they themselves are at serious hazard and can be the chain to making network transmission among all age groups. The youth probably might not follow social distancing and facial mask norms consequently, prompting heartbreaking outcomes.
Specialists around the world and the WHO executive Tedros himself expressed that we don’t have a deep understanding of this new infection, and should be cautious & take utmost care before putting our & our loved ones in danger. They accept that the novel coronavirus appeared in people in December last, and there is still much left obscure about the complexities of this infection. They accept 82% of the entire country’s population would need to be contaminated before HERD Immunity level is reached.